The militarization of our local police forces continues, and as local law enforcement gets their hands on high-grade, weaponized and war-ready equipment, an authoritarian streak goes right along with it.

The sheriff of Erie County, New York, told the State Legislature it was none of their damn business how they use their high-tech cellphone “sniffers” to spy on Americans.

POLL: Does the US legal system need to be reformed?

Timothy B. Howard told a committee the “Stingray Tracking Device” his department has owned for six years wasn’t being used to tap into citizen’s phone conversations, but only for tracking their movement. And that’s all he would say. The Erie County Sheriff’s Department received the device – and other surveillance equipment – from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as part of an ongoing effort to supply local law enforcement with high-grade military equipment.

He wouldn’t tell the elected officials about the scope of the device’s capabilities, how well it worked or how many times his department has used it.

With no disrespect to this honorable body … the specific use of the device should be left to the monitoring of the courts and not to the Legislature or to the media,” he said.

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  • If I can find out the frequency of these "Stingray" devices, I'll share how to JAM them!

  • This will eventually turn into revenge against police and will turn into a blood bath for them. People will see them as the enemy and not the protectors!

  • Hey, it's New York ... upstate, downstate, NYC: they're all crazy up there. Stay home New Yorkers. You deserve the terror state you've created.

  • Support Your Local Death's Head Commando.  County Sheriff's campaigns should now be run by "professional wrastling," management.  People do not understand how serious this is until they go to a beer-sampling fest, only a three hour deal, and witness 4 squad cars and a k-9 unit, that slowly creeps toward the main party tent as the event is scheduled to close.  This is needed in a country club setting?   

    Are doughnut shops putting testosterone in their cheap coffee?

  • I keep wondering if Communists got positions such as Chief of Police, Sheriffs..
    I keep hearing stories of police abuse on citizens, and the police chief sticks up for the policeman. Anyway, this story shows that there are corrupt people in the police. Still a lot of good policeman out there, but this sheriff's attitude will surely erode trust.
  • We really need to rethink who we have in charge,and how we should dispose of these people.
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